[extropy-chat] The Anticipation Dilemma (Personal IdentityParadox)

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Apr 12 03:59:42 UTC 2007

Russell writes

> On 4/11/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> > What we have reached is the uncomfortable conclusion that
> > what happens to you (or happened to you) in the past is
> > every bit as worthy of anticipation as events that are
> > scheduled to happen in your future. This demolishes any 
> > rational or consistent use of *anticipation* that I have
> > ever been able to formulate.
> I don't see the problem. Consider the evolved function of anticipation:
> it's to make us pay attention to things that are important _and that we
> can influence_.

Yes, anticipation is indeed one of the things that evolved to help us
make choices that benefit us or our genes.  But it constitutes a dilemma
because it prompts me to relish good things in my future, but not to
equally relish (positively anticipate) them in my past.  I conclude that as
such, anticipation is not a reliable guide or indicator, since it doesn't
allow me to anticipate (with pleasure) something good that happened
to me last night. That is, I don't "feel" the same way about it as I do
about something good that will happen tomorrow night.

> In your scenario it makes sense for myself in October 8 2007 to
> anticipate what will happen in October 9 999, because I can
> causally influence it.

That's a bold and interesting idea, in my opinion. But it seems that
we can separate causality from anticipation by considering the
passive beneficiary of something good or bad (that is slated for him
or her) but who has no influence on its occuring or not.


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